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Aussie Launches Human Rights Complaint Against Scrabble Over 'Racist Slurs'

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Aussie Launches Human Rights Complaint Against Scrabble Over 'Racist Slurs'

A Northern Territory man has filed a formal complaint against the owners of Scrabble after it was found that they included racist slurs offensive to Aboriginal people in the boardgame's dictionary of accepted words.

Aboriginal activist Stephen Hagan has lodged the complaint to the Australian Human Rights Commission against Mattel.

He was 'flabbergasted' that words like 'abo', 'coon' and 'boong' were all allowed in the game.

"My wife and I never encouraged our children, when they were young, to experiment with racially offensive words or slurs whenever they played Scrabble," Dr Hagan wrote in his complaint, obtained by NCA NewsWire.


"I would like to think that when they have children they would also explain the importance of not using racially offensive words to gain points in Scrabble," Dr Hagan said.

"I know that with Covid-19, more people are looking at board games and families actually talking over dinner together.

Credit: PA
Credit: PA

"It's appalling that Mattel promotes teaching kids that it is OK to use a racial slur if that's what it takes to win a Scrabble game.


"That's when kids start using them in backyards and schools."

It comes following the North American Scrabble Players Association (NASPA) announcing in June last year that derogatory language would be removed from the game's official word list in support of the Black Lives Matter movement.

"I have felt for a long time that there are some words in our lexicon that we hang onto in the mistaken belief that our spelling them with tiles on a board strips them of their power to cause harm," said John Chew, CEO of NASPA, in a statement at the time.

Despite this, it seems that the slurs offensive to Aboriginal peoples were not included in this mass removal.


Dr Hagan is now calling for the words to be removed from the Scrabble dictionary, a formal apology and $150,000 in compensation for hurt and humiliation.

"They have a responsibility to be accountable for their actions," he said. "It's not an oversight. It's in their written dictionary so they know very well what's in there.

"I object to overseas companies making financial gain by peddling bigotry in their products to Aussie families, especially First Nations families.

Dr. Hagan also campaigned for more than 20 years to get the name of Coon cheese to be changed, which Saputo Inc. did following the Black Lives Matter movement. Hagan called this 'a total vindication of 20 years of campaigning.'

Featured Image Credit: PA

Topics: Black Lives Matter, Racism, Australia

Jessica Lynch
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